ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

A slap on the wrist for deadly U.S. attack on Kunduz hospital, killing 42 civilians

The heavily redacted Pentagon report released Friday on last year’s deadly attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, affirms, as early accounts had suggested, that it was the result of a chain of errors, many of them avoidable. But because the deaths of the 42 civilians — doctors, staff and patients alike, some of them incinerated in their beds — were deemed to be unintentional, the Pentagon has decided the punishments for the perpetrators should be administrative, and that none of those involved will face criminal prosecution for their misdeeds.

That is inadequate. These deaths weren’t the result of a single error that led to dropping a bomb in the wrong place, which, although regrettable, also is inevitable in a theater of war. This attack, on a building complex that had been repeatedly reported to the military command as a hospital, lasted more than an hour, even as the crew of the AC-130 gunship expressed confusion over exactly what they were being asked to do, and uncertainty over the target. And the attack continued even though Doctors Without Borders contacted American officials within 12 minutes of its onset. Why did it continue? Because, according to the report, the military officials couldn’t confirm for themselves that they were firing at a hospital, not a building full of Taliban fighters.

We won’t pretend to substitute our knowledge for the Pentagon’s, but the military’s own report suggests serious violations of the rules of war. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the head of the military’s Central Command, acknowledged Friday that the report found that troops involved did not “comply with the rules of engagement in the law of armed conflict.” Critics argue that the gross negligence involved amounted to a war crime, yet the Pentagon’s recommended response is administrative discipline — reassignments, letters of reprimand, stalled careers.

Those mild responses give reasonable people serious cause to question the Defense Department’s ability to deal credibly with errors within its own midst. Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and other international rights organizations have called for an independent investigation. They’re right.

As American forces continue to engage in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and, through the logistical support of Saudi Arabian bombers, Yemen, the U.S. government continues to feed the belief in parts of the world that, rather than being a force for stability and peace, it is heedless or reckless when it comes to protecting civilian lives. An internal review that determines, in effect, “nope, we committed no crimes here, so move along,” does not help.

President Obama should order an independent investigation into this horrific tragedy, and if that analysis recommends criminal charges against any of the troops involved, then the cases should be brought. To do otherwise is to flout justice, to work against the nation’s best interests and to feed cynicism about the Pentagon’s respect for its own rules of engagement.

Taliban Visibly Shaken By Afghan Pres. Ghani’s Threat To Carry-Out Executions of Convicted Terrorists

Taliban makes plea to international organizations as govt mulls hanging militants

“The Islamic Emirate also calls upon international human right organizations, independent media outlets, ICRC and other free impartial committees to not remain indifferent in using their influence concerning matter of prisoner execution.”

Taliban warns Kabul against killing captured militants

andalou ANADALOU

Warning comes after President Ashraf Ghani vows to execute Taliban prisoners condemned by Afghan courts

Taliban warns Kabul against killing captured militants

By Zabihullah Tamanna

KABUL

The Taliban militant group on Saturday reacted angrily to a recent Afghan government decision to execute Taliban prisoners that have been sentenced to death by Afghan courts.

In a statement, the group vowed to stage attacks on Afghan judicial institutions if a recent order by President Ashraf Ghani to execute Taliban prisoners was carried out.

Last week, during a speech to parliament, Ghani instructed judicial officials to provide him with lists of Taliban prisoners who had been sentenced to death for a final review.

In its Saturday statement, the Taliban vowed that — if the executions were carried out — the group would also target “those individuals and organizations that requested the death sentences”.

The militant group went on to warn that the move could potentially endanger the lives of Afghan and foreign prisoners being held by the Taliban.

While the Taliban claims to treat captives in accordance with Islamic rules for prisoners, the group has warned that, if the government begins executing Taliban prisoners, Taliban courts could retaliate against captive Afghan and foreign soldiers.

In its statement, the Taliban went on to urge international human rights groups to use their influence to prevent the executions.

According to the Presidential Palace, Ghani asked for a review of all death sentences handed down against Taliban militants following an April 20 attack on security forces in Kabul in which at least 64 people — including civilians — were killed.

“Judicial bodies shared the first list of death row inmates with the president today,” Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for Ghani, said at a Saturday press conference, without providing an exact number.

“The president is committed to what he has promised,” the spokesman asserted. “No one should doubt the readiness of the gallows for hanging terrorists.”

He added: “All our deeds are in accordance with Islamic rules and the [Afghan] Constitution.”

CIA Director Brennan Whitewashes 911 Documents As “Inaccurate” Hearsay and Gossip

[The British Factor in 9/11 and All Global Terror]

CIA Director John Brennan says documents that could link Saudi Arabia to 9/11 terrorists should be kept classified 

New_York_Daily_News_logo

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
CIA Director John Brennan said that the 28 secret pages from a Congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks should be kept classified.
MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images

 

CIA Director John Brennan said that the 28 secret pages from a Congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks should be kept classified.

The feds shouldn’t release 28 secret pages from a Congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks because they contain inaccurate information suggesting a Saudi link to the attacks, the director of the CIA said Sunday.

John Brennan defended the decision to keep this portion of the 2002 report classified in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It was a preliminary review that put information in there that was not corroborated, not vetted and not deemed to be accurate,” Brennan said.

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the joint Congressional inquiry, has been leading a push to release the documents, saying they suggest a Saudi role.

BOB GRAHAM SAYS ‘ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO’ SAUDI ARABIA’S INVOLVEMENT WITH 9/11 TERRORISTS

But Brennan insisted it would be wrong to reach that conclusion, noting the early information in the Congressional report was further investigated by the 9/11 Commission and other groups.

== With AFP Story by Michel MOUTOT: US-attacks-911-anniversary-Qaeda,ADVANCER-ANALYSIS ==
SETH MCALLISTER/AFP/Getty Images

Brennan said that the classified pages may contain inaccurate information suggesting a Saudi link to the Sept. 11 attacks.

“This chapter was kept out because of concerns about sensitive source of methods, investigative actions. The investigation of 9/11 was still underway in late 2002,” he said.

“I’m quite puzzled by Sen. Graham and others because what that joint inquiry did was to tee up issues that were followed up on by the 9/11 Commission, as well as the 9/11 Review Commission. So these were thoroughly investigated and reviewed,” he said. “And they came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that indicated that the Saudi government as an institution, or Saudi officials individually, had provided financial support to Al Qaeda.”

He added that the pages contain “a combination of things that is accurate and inaccurate.”

“I think some people may seize upon that uncorroborated, un-vetted information that was in there, that was basically just a collation of this information that came out of F.B.I. files, and to point to Saudi involvement, which I think would be very, very inaccurate,” Brennan said.

The British Factor in 9/11 and All Global Terror

The British Factor in 9/11 and All Global Terror

the people's voice

Executive Intelligence Review

While the world’s media are focusing attention, legitimately, on Saudi Arabia’s hand behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks–and all subsequent jihadist terror around the globe–and President Barack Obama’s cover-up of those crimes, the real authors of that mass kill program are not found in Riyad or at the White House, but in London. It is fully fitting and proper that British agent and key 9/11 cover-up figure Barack Obama is headed directly from Riyad to London later this week to pay homage, one more time, to the British Queen.

Saudi Arabia has always been a British Crown possession, dating back to the time of Lawrence of Arabia and the original generation of the House of Saud and the Wahhabi clergy. In fact, British control over the Persian Gulf emirates dates back to the heyday of the British East India Company in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. But this British-run partnership with the Saudi Royals was put on a far more formal and active footing in 1985, when Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, a self-professed British agent, sealed the Al Yamamah deal with Margaret Thatcher, setting up the oil-for-weapons barter scheme, under which hundreds of billions of dollars were sequestered into British offshore financial havens–to finance terrorism, coups, and assassinations around the globe.

That is the part of 9/11 that has been so far missing from the long-overdue public revolt over the hiding of the 28 pages from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11. Where did Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince “Bandar Bush” get the money to finance the two lead 9/11 hijackers in San Diego? From Al Yamamah accounts at the Bank of England, that went into his personal bank accounts at Riggs National Bank in Washington. It was his cut of the Al Yamamah loot, at minimum $2 billion.

Without the protection from Londonistan, there would be no Saudi Kingdom, no infrastructure for jihadist terrorism, no global drug epidemic, and no threat of global war of extinction.

From even before the actual 9/11 attacks, which Lyndon LaRouche witnessed on live television, while giving an interview to popular Utah broadcaster Jack Stockwell, LaRouche was warning about a looming Reichstag fire staged incident to drive the U.S. towards dictatorship under the Bush-Cheney Administration. In December 2000, {Executive Intelligence Review} had formally petitioned the US State Department to put Great Britain on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The document detailed scores of formal complaints by governments around the world, against London’s harboring and financing of terrorist and violent separatists.

There were ample opportunities to stop the mass bloodshed, including 9/11, by taking on the real enemy of mankind–the British Empire. The failure to do so in the recent past has brought us to this grave moment of crisis, when a desperate and bankrupt British Empire is prepared to blow up the world rather than cede power. Now is the moment to knock out the Saudi terror machine, along with the British Empire that really runs the show. Break the 9/11 cover-up and bring down Obama along with the Anglo-Saudis. It may be mankind’s last best chance for survival.

Newly Released Documents Further Detail Obama’s Collusion with 9/11 Sponsors

April 19, 2016 (EIRNS)-The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the highest declassification authority in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Federal Government, housed at the National Archives, has declassified 29 new documents relating to the government’s investigations into the 9/11 attacks, and they reveal new damning details about the Saudi Royal Family’s deep involvement in those Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

From the time of his first campaign for President in 2008, Obama has promised the families of the 9/11 victims that he would declassify the 28 pages from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry, which detail the Saudi involvement in those heinous attacks. He not only broke that promise; he has consistently protected the Saudis from justice due their role in 9/11, and is now openly showing his hand by pledging to veto the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), now before the Congress, just prior to his now-ongoing visit to Saudi Arabia. The President has sold out the American people to his slavish loyalty to the Saudis and their British patrons. This is a crime that demands, at minimum, President Obama’s immediate impeachment from office.

The 29 documents most recently declassified, contain work sheets, interview notes, and other documents from the 9/11 Commission, that make clear that the Federal investigators probing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, had compiled huge amounts of evidence of direct involvement by agents of the Saudi Royal Family, the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. They provide a backdrop to the suppressed 28-page chapter from the earlier Joint Inquiry, which merely summarized the volumes of evidence compiled-and covered up-about the direct Saudi government complicity in 9/11.

Perhaps the single most damning document, declassified last year, is a 47-page memorandum by Dana Leseman and Michael Jacobson, detailing all of the Saudi government officials who were implicated in the 9/11 attacks. Leseman was a Justice Department attorney and Jacobson was an FBI Special Agent. Both had served as key investigators for the Joint Inquiry, and had authored the 28-page chapter that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have suppressed. They went on to work for the 9/11 Commission, where their efforts to pursue the Saudi leads from their earlier work were stymied by Commission director Philip Zelikow. Leseman was ultimately fired by Zelikow for refusing to obey his orders to stop the probe of Saudi Royals’ ties to 9/11.

The 47-page document identified a total of 21 confirmed and suspected Saudi government employees who abetted the San Diego hijackers cell during the year-and-a-half that they were in the United States preceding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The document detailed all of their roles in supporting the two West Coast hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. It also called for a thorough investigation of the FBI, which had an informant in San Diego who housed the two 9/11 hijackers in his home for months before the attacks.

One of the central figures linking the Saudi regime to the 9/11 plotters was Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi intelligence agent who was the main financier of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar during their entire time in the United States. In addition to his no-show job, with a sizable expense account from a Saudi Ministry of Defense and aviation contractor, Dallah Aviation, al-Bayoumi earlier received $400,000 from the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs during the 1990s, ostensibly to build a mosque in the San Diego area. Investigators believed that those funds may have been used to build up terrorist cells in the area. These beliefs were butresed by the fact that the San Diego mosque was run by Anwar Al-Awlaki, a spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, who was ultimately killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen-and who may have also been an FBI informant.

The evidence of deep Saudi involvement is almost matched in the 47-page document by evidence of FBI cover-up of the 9/11 story. One segment of the recently declassified “Document 17” featured a series of questions about FBI stonewalling and cover-up.

The document posed the following two questions:

“1. Did the FBI intentionally withhold from the Joint Inquiry information about the informant’s relationship with the hijackers and subsequently attempt to obstruct the Joint Inquiry’s investigation of the matter?

“2. If the FBI did withhold information and obstruct the Joint Inquiry’s investigation, were the FBI’s actions indicative of a larger pattern of FBI non-compliance with Congressional oversight? What changes would therefore be needed to ensure more effective Congressional oversight of the FBI?”

A thorough review of all of the newly released documents is now underway. But sufficient evidence is already reviewed, proving the deep Saudi role in 9/11 and the ongoing cover-up by President Obama and top officials of the FBI.

The evidence of President Obama’s witting role in this cover-up already meets and passes the Constitutional standards of “high crimes and misdemeanors” requiring impeachment proceedings. These are credible reports circulating in Washington that President Obama is using his current visit to Saudi Arabia to solicit funds from the Saudi Royals for his post-presidential library and career–perhaps in return for guarantees that the 9/11 story will continued to be covered up at the top. Is there any justification for delaying one moment more the launching of those long-overdue impeachment proceedings?

Obama Being Overwhelmed with Pressure on 28 Pages

April 20, 2016 (EIRNS)–The public pressure on President Obama to declassify the 28-page chapter from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 intensified today, as President Obama arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to a cool welcome from King Salman. In his interview with Charlie Rose on the eve of his trip to Saudi Arabia, Britain and Germany, Obama had made clear that he intends to veto the JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) bill if it arrives on his desk, and he had also made clear that he had no intention of releasing the 28 pages, dodging the issue by putting the burden on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is an Obama stooge. Claims that Clapper is “almost finished” with the intelligence review have been used as a stalling tactic by the White House for three years; the review actually began under pressure from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After gloating that Republican Senate leaders were backing Obama’s plans to sink JASTA, Sen. Lindsey Graham came out today, reversing his position by announcing that, with minor changes in language, he will lift his hold, and allow the bill to come before the full Senate for a vote next week.

A growing chorus of public officials and Middle East experts have called for the release of the 28 pages in the past day, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who told Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast that he will defer to the judgement of the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunez (R-Cal.), who came out a week ago, following the 60 Minutes airing, supporting the release of the chapter. Bruce Reidel, a former CIA officer now at the Brookings Institution, also called Obama’s bluff on the 28 pages, arguing that the late Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud bin-Faisal, had said the pages should be released, claiming they would exonerate top Royal Family members.

Saudi expert Simon Henderson disputed those Saudi claims in an article today in {Foreign Policy}, in which he referenced a story he had published in 2002, based on reports from members of the Saudi Royal Family, who had confirmed to him that two very senior princes had paid Al Qaeda hundreds of millions of dollars in return for a promise that the House of Saud would not be targeted. He reported that recent efforts to determine whether those arrangements were ever terminated got negative responses.

Sen. Bob Graham also weighed in today, with a powerful article published in {TCPalm}, a Florida publication affiliated with {USA Today}. Graham started out by saying that the government had not just covered up the truth about Sept. 11, 2001.

“It was a result of aggressive deception. Your government has purposely used deceit to withhold the truth. The reason for deceit: to protect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from its complicity in the murder of 2,977 Americans.” Sen. Graham slammed the Obama Administration for stall its so-called “review” for three years. He detailed the Sarasota story and the deep FBI cover-up of a prominent Saudi family, close to the Royals, who colluded with at least three of the hijackers, including Mohammed Atta. He concluded that in the name of justice, national security, and democracy, the truth has to be told.

Leaders of the 9/11 families have also been all over the media in the past 24 hours, with Terry Strada appearing once again on CNN (the third time in four days), and Sharon Premoli giving a lengthy interview to National Public Radio. The Florida Bulldog online newspaper, which sued the FBI over the Sarasota documents, published a new statement by four 9/11 widows, Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, Lorie Van Auken and Patty Casazza, which blasted President Obama for threatening to veto JASTA and for blocking the release of the 28 pages. It read, in part: “Mass murder through terrorism should never be qualified, excused or acceptable under any circumstances. President Obama ought to know that…
JASTA is not a verdict of guilt against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. JASTA merely allows us to bring (it) into a court of law where, if warranted by the evidence, they can and should be held accountable.”

More Saudi Links to 9/11 Plot Revealed

April 20, 2016 (EIRNS)–Today’s {Daily Mail} has further evidence of the deep Saudi Royal Family role in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. After noting that President Obama was snubbed visibly on his arrival in Riyad for his meeting with King Salman–the King did not even show up at the airport to greet President Obama on his arrival–the lengthy article went on to detail the case of Al Qaeda bomb-maker Ghassan al-Sharbi, who was arrested in 2002. In the course of capturing documents in his possession, investigators found a Saudi embassy envelope, which contained a flight school certification in al-Sharbi’s name. The details of the al-Sharbi links to the flight training prior to the 9/11 attacks and the evidence of contacts with Saudi embassy officials were contained in Document 17, the 47-page staff memo from the 9/11 Commission, that was declassified last year and is now publicly available on the website of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).

Between the contents of the newly declassified staff papers of the 9/11 Commission and the other revelations about high-level Saudi government ties to the Sept. 11, 2001 plotters, it is becoming almost impossible for the cover-up to continue. What is now obviously needed is a new, thorough, top-down investigation, focusing on the Anglo-Saudi apparatus behind the global jihad terror, including a long-overdue full investigation of the Al Yamamah British-Saudi barter scheme, under which hundreds of billions of dollars were squirreled into offshore accounts for use by terrorist networks, and other British-Saudi regime-change operations.

-###-

Executive Intelligence Review

Afghan Pres. Ghani Puts Peace Talks On Hold Until Pakistan Cleans Taliban Out of Quetta and Peshawar

[SEE: Ghani warns Pakistan, asks to act against Taliban based in Peshawar and Quetta; Afghan Pres. Ghani Calls On Pakistan To Kill Or Arrest Afghan Taliban In Pakistan, Or Else]

Afghanistan makes upcoming quadrilateral meeting conditional

the news pak

Afghanistan makes upcoming quadrilateral meeting conditional

KABUL: Afghan Presidential Palace has said Pakistan should suppress the irreconcilable groups or Afghanistan would not participate in the upcoming quadrilateral peace meeting, the Afghan media reported.

The Presidential Palace declared that Pakistan had earlier committed to take military measures against the insurgent groups to attend the talks, ANT News reported on Sunday.

“The previous quadrilateral meeting had decided to take serious measures against any group that did not attend the peace meeting but if Pakistan did not stand by its commitments, we will not participate in the meeting,” Afghan president’s deputy spokesman said.

Top diplomats of four nations (Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States) sat down together for the fourth time to explore options to bring the mired Afghan peace process back on track which came to an abrupt halt in Kabul on February 23, 2016.

Taking note of the joint statement on the outcome of the previous meetings of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), the group reviewed progress on the implementation of the roadmap for the Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

Previously, Pakistan had said that bringing the Taliban to negotiating table needs concerted efforts, clarifying that serious efforts for peace in Afghanistan have been made in the past but joint efforts were required now to bring the Afghan Taliban to the table to resume the dialogue.

Pakistan had hosted a meeting between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban representatives in Murree on July 7, 2015 along with the representatives from China and the US.The participants were duly mandated by their respective leaderships and expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region.

The second round of the talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on July 31, 2015, was postponed in view of the reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the leadership crisis among the Taliban.

DC Train Derailment UPDATE–5/1

[CSX Train Bearing Hazardous Material Derails Two Miles From Capitol In Washington, D.C.]

CSX: Three Different Chemicals Leaked After Train Derailment

4nbc wash

A 175-car train traveling from Cumberland, Maryland to North Carolina derailed in Northeast D.C.

Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C fire department, said as many as nine and as many as 11 cars have derailed and at least three are leaking hazardous material. (Published Sunday, May 1, 2016)

A CSX freight train carrying hazardous material derailed near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station early Sunday, sending 14 cars off the tracks and spilling hazerdous material from three of them, according to a CSX statement.

News4’s Mark Segraves reported an underground gas line was also ruptured during the derailment. Gas has been turned off, and it is unclear how many people are affected by the closure.

Kristin Seay, with CSX corporate communications, said sodium hydroxide leaked from one of the derailed tanker cars. Sodium hydroxide is a highly corrosive chemical that can irritate and burn the skin and eyes, according to the CDC.

Officials initially reported only one chemical leak, but Seay said a detailed inspection showed another derailed tank car was leaking a non-hazardous calcium chloride solution. Common applications for the chemical include brine for refrigeration plants, ice and dust control on roads and the removal of water through chemical means.

A third derailed car was seeping ethanol from the base of a valve, Seay said. CSX said the ethanol has been contained.

CSX said all the leaks have been sealed.

Emergency crews set up a wide perimeter around Rhode Island Avenue and the road was shut down for a time after the derailment.

Rhode Island Ave. remains closed between 4th and 12th streets and the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro Station is closed.

Metro service on the Red Line has been suspended between the NoMa and Brookland stations. Shuttle buses are available, but passengers should expect delays.

Metro said trains on the Red Line are running every 15 minutes with single tracking at the Friendship-Medical Center Station.

Two people were onboard the train, an engineer and a conductor, and neither of them were injured, officials said.

CSX said it is working with first responders to contain the sodium hydroxide. D.C. Assistant Fire Chief John Donnelly said there was no danger to the public, and any fumes from the chemcials should not be a problem.

CSX officials said cleanup efforts will begin soon. Officials did not know how long clean up would take or when normal rail operations would resume.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser initially reported that 13 cars had derailed, but CSX officials later reported that 14 railcars were confirmed to be derailed.

The mayor said Metro would be inspecting the track, but it was not clear if future Metro operations would be affected.

Bowser said the tracks are also used by Amtrak and MARC services. She said Amtrak’s Capital Limited service, which runs daily between Washington and Chicago, is currently unavailable. MARC service on the Brunswick Line, which runs from Washington to Brunswick, Maryland, with continuing service to Martinsburg, West Virginia, also uses those tracks.

Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C fire department, said there are no evacuations of residents and no call for shelter in place.

According to a CSX statement, the train was traveling from Cumberland, Maryland to Hamlet, North Carolina, when it derailed near 9th Street and Rhode Island Avenue. The train has three locomotives and 175 total cars, including 94 cars loaded with frieght and 81 empty cars.

Chris Nellum said he lives nearby and his window looks directly over the tracks.

“I thought it was like a semi-truck coming toward the building, and when I looked out the window, I saw cars piling up,” said Nellum, who had just moved in the night before. “So I’m not even used to hearing trains. It was jarring.”

Part of Rhode Island Avenue was closed in both directions. Nellum said his girlfriend tried to leave the area and was told to stay put, but she eventually found a way out.

“She’s an environmentalist so she is very concerned about whatever is leaking,” he said.

Bowser said the Federal Railroad Administration would be the lead investigators into the derailment.

Project Taliban

Project Taliban

the nation pakistan

Project Taliban

Religious seminaries have a long history but Taliban (students of the seminaries) emerged as an independent and separate political entity in mid 1990s. They ostensibly rose as a player in Afghan politics to fill the vacuum created by the dramatic decline of former mujahideen in the early 1990s but the Taliban movement bore a clear made-in-Pakistan mark on it for three reasons.

First, almost 95 percent of them were trained in religious seminaries in Pakistan as Afghan refugee children along with locals were attracted by the widening network of seminaries operating in Pakistan, mostly with the financial support of Arab countries. Religious education imparted by the aforementioned seminaries was characterised by the Wahabi school of thought. The students were politicised as these seminaries were run by Pakistani religious political parties who used these institutions as their political base. Religious political parties belonging to the Deobandi school in Pakistan took pride in regarding these Taliban as extension of their political and sectarian influence in Afghanistan. The formation of the “Council for the Defense of Afghanistan” by Pakistani religious political parties to defend the Taliban regime in 2000 was a clear demonstration of this fact.

Second, the Taliban, like their predecessor mujahideen, were launched and facilitated by the Pakistani security establishment to establish hegemony over Afghanistan. In fact the Taliban have been considered an important strategic asset for implementing the policy of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. This explains prolonged Pakistani support for and investment in the project. In the 1990s Taliban offices functioned openly in all the major cities of Pakistan.

Third, before formally and systematically launching Talibanisation inside Afghanistan, the Taliban led by Molvi Sufi Mohammad, had worked on a pilot project of imposing “Sharia” in the Malakand division of Khyber Pakhtukhwa province in Pakistan. When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996 and started ruling Afghanistan Talibanisation started gripping FATA. Taliban ascendency in the area increased as their leadership retreated from Afghanistan after the collapse of their regime in Kabul after 9/11. They regrouped on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line and started a new stage of war in Afghanistan in 2003. The TTP though technically a separate entity has enjoyed close ideological and organisational relationship with the main body of the Taliban. The TTP fighters are fighting in Afghanistan along side their Afghan comrades and the TTP also depend on their Afghan counterparts for sanctuaries in the Afghan border areas where Afghan government’s writ is minimal.

There are a number of myths attached with Taliban in the state sponsored narrative over the years as the Taliban became the backbone of Pakistan’s Afghan policy. They are projected as the so-called resistance movement against foreign occupation. Nothing can be further from truth. From their inception in 1994 till 9/11 they fought against Afghans as there was not a single foreign soldier on Afghan soil during that period. They have basically waged war against the Afghan state. The Taliban fought to overthrow the regime led by Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masood. They also attacked Gulbadin Hikmatyar’s organisation and other Afghan factions. In fact their links with Al Qaida and their support for OBL turned Afghanistan into a theater for international military conflict.

Similarly to camouflage their mercenary nature Taliban they also projected themselves as “representatives of Pashtuns” against the domination of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. This is again a very misleading spin. Talibanisation is first and foremost aimed at decimating historical Pashtun national identity and is also geared towards demonising Pashtuns in regional and international politics. Pashtun culture has been the main victim of the Taliban onslaught. In fact Pashtuns in Afghanistan have suffered the most because of Taliban attacks in terms of loss of life and destruction of infrastructure. It is also hardly a coincidence that Pashtun nationalists in Pakistan have borne the brunt of Taliban’s terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In a similar vein it is claimed that Taliban can’t be defeated in Afghanistan. In fact they are defeated on daily basis in Afghanistan, but their sanctuaries on the east of Durand Line enable them to carry on and launch fresh attacks.

Discussing the Taliban Project here is not meant to deny other factors responsible for war in Afghanistan. It is a fact that Afghanistan has been a victim of the machinations of the imperial “Great Games” and Cold War rivalries. Big powers including the erstwhile Soviet Union, US and European Powers cannot absolve themselves from the responsibility of bloodshed and destruction in Afghanistan during the last decades. But the present stalemate in resolving the conflict in and around Afghanistan is due to Taliban.

In the 2014 Pakistan visit of Dr. Ashraf Ghani Pakistani leadership had promised to facilitate talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. It was also decided that while forging peace with reconcilable elements, both the countries will fight together against those who refuse to enter the peace process. The Taliban have used this engagement to launch a full fledged war against Afghan state. They have owned responsibility for some horrendous terrorist attacks in Afghanistan particularly in Kabul. Afghan public opinion has seriously turned against negotiation with Taliban. Taliban have failed to develop any significant political capital on both sides of the Durand Line due to their undeniable links with terrorist activities. The paradox of Pakistani policy is that it is crushing them in Pakistani territory but supporting them in Afghanistan. It is very difficult for Pakistan to deny responsibility for Taliban activities in a situation where Mr. Sartaj Aziz has formally accepted the presence of Taliban leadership in Pakistan.

Project Taliban, a remnant of Cold War, is a hindrance to peace in Afghanistan. It is the biggest obstacle in establishing normal state to state relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also the most major source of regional instability in South and Central Asia that threatens the prospects of important regional economic development projects and regional connectivities such as CPEC, TAPI and other initiatives. Pakistan has to take rethink its policy about Project Taliban. It will go a long way in transforming Pakistan into a normal state.

%d bloggers like this: